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City Councilman McFadden pleads guilty to wire fraud, filing false tax return

October 09, 2019 08:40 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) - There is a seat open on the Rochester City Council Monday and that's because the longest-serving member of the council is going to federal prison. 

Adam McFadden, first elected to Council in 2003, pleaded guilty Monday morning for concocting a scheme to get paid for work he didn't do or barely did. And he also admitted he lied on his taxes. 

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When McFadden walked into federal court in downtown Rochester he told Judge Elizabeth Wolford, he "cut corners, took short cuts and bent the rules" when it came to his work involving the Rochester Housing Charities. 

When it was over, McFadden blamed hubris. 

Adam McFadden, pled guilty to wire fraud, tax return fraud: "So I would just say this: as a leader in this community I feel it's important to be accountable for the decisions that you make. And I'll say, narcissism and ego got the best of me."

"I would characterize it as dishonest and and self-indulgent," U.S. Attorney James Kennedy said. 
 
It was a complicated financial scheme. 

The U.S. Attorney says McFadden coordinated a contract between the Rochester Housing Charities and a Washington D.C. consulting firm called Capital Connection Partners. RHC would pay CCP and CCP would pay McFadden's company -- Caesar Development -- 75 percent of the money CCP got. 

The plea agreement says in August of 2015, McFadden got paid more than $32,000 again for working on things like grants and after school programs. 

The U.S. Attorney says "no services were provided under that."

Five months later, in December 2015, the plea agreement says McFadden got paid another $32,000 for things like administrative support. 
The U.S. Attorney says "that was grossly exaggerated."

News10NBC emailed contacts with the Rochester Housing Authority and the Rochester Housing Charities for statements. We have not received any statements. 

The former board chair of the Rochester Housing Authority, George Moses, was charged in October for lying to the FBI over McFadden's contracts. McFadden was charged a little over a month ago.  

McFadden: "And today was about owning up and being transparent about what I did and trying to move forward with my life. And I just want to say to my supporters, thank you for supporting me throughout the years and that I will still continue whether or not I'm in elected office or private citizen to fight for the voiceless because that ultimately was the goal as to why I entered into this arrangement with the Housing Authority and Charities."

By law, McFadden's seat on the Rochester City Council was vacated as soon as he pled guilty. According to the city's attorney, the remaining members of the city council have 30 days to pick a replacement.

City Council President Lorettta Scott says she will ask for a list of names to consider from the Monroe County Democratic Committee.

Then, the seat is up for election in November. 

Monroe County Legislator Lashay Harris announced her candidacy for McFadden's council seat in February. 

In a statement today, Harris writes "my top priority is to ensure that integrity and accountability are always present in our local politics. Today was an important step in that direction. I think it is important to let the process play out and I trust the appropriate decisions will be made going forth to protect the interest on behalf the citizens of Rochester."
 

Credits

Berkeley Brean

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